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Selling Your Home in the Winter

Yes Virginia, there is value in selling over the festive season!

You’ve thought long and hard about selling your house. You’ve had those long, late-night chats with your spouse; perhaps you’ve discussed the prospect of a new school and new friends with the kids. Maybe you’ve scoped out neighbourhoods you’d like to move into. But now it’s November and with the holidays approaching, you’ve decided it’s best to wait till spring to list your home.

Not necessarily.

In today’s energetic real estate market selling your house over the holidays can actually net you a better price for your home than during traditionally strong spring and fall markets. Let me explain. With a housing market that’s as large and as vigorous as Toronto’s, seasonal markets don’t really exist anymore. That said, there are peaks in sales, usually in May and September thanks to the number of listings that come available then. The holiday period – aka the ‘slow months’ of November, December and January – is when the number of listings drops as people turn their attention to gift buying, decorating and entertaining. But this is a great time to sell your property because demand for housing is still very high. Combine strong demand with less supply and what have you got? Higher prices. It’s simple economics.

My view may seem contrarian in that it goes against commonly held beliefs about selling over the holidays: the main one being that buyers will think the seller is desperate, which will reflect in the offers that come in. But in Toronto’s current market that notion doesn’t really fly anymore. I’ve helped clients sell during these ‘slow months’ and netted them better results than if they’d waited till spring or fall.

Here are a few tips for selling at this time of year:

Rein in the décor – Don’t overdo it. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or another faith-based holiday, prominently displayed menorahs, angels and other religious symbols can be a distraction for potential buyers. Garish displays could be considered offensive not just to aesthetic sensibilities but also to different religions and cultures.

Don’t be a Scrooge – While it may not be a good idea to play up the holidays when it comes to decorations, giving your home that cozy Christmas feeling doesn’t hurt. Play soft music, display homemade treats on a decorative tray, and keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Baking muffins or a pie just before a showing isn’t a bad idea because it fills the air with a homey, comforting scent.

Proud homeowner — Try to provide spring and summer photos of your home and property so buyers can get a sense of how it looks when trees are in full bloom or when the pool is sparkling in the summer sunlight.

Let it snow – But make sure you clear it from all paths, steps, walkways and driveways.

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